Joe Biden's Greatest Gaffes

Joe Biden’s Greatest Gaffes

As Joe Biden embarks on his third attempt at a run for the Oval Office, let’s take a trip down memory lane to review some of his most famous gaffes.

April 25, 2019
Joe Biden’s Greatest Gaffes

Joe Biden has built his political persona as the free-wheeling, gaffe prone former VP. As he embarks on his third attempt at a run for the Oval Office, let’s take a trip down memory lane to review some of his most famous gaffes:

During a February 2014 event In Philadelphia, Biden compared New York’s LaGuardia Airport to a “third world country.”

“‘If I blindfolded someone and took them at 2 o’clock in the morning into the airport in Hong Kong and said, ‘where do you think you are?’ They would say, ‘this must be America. This is a modern airport. If I took them blindfolded and took them to LaGuardia airport in New York, he would like ‘I must be in some third world country.’ I’m not joking.’”

During the signing of the Affordable Care Act, Biden was caught on a hot mic telling President Obama that the event was a “big f-ing deal.”

While addressing La Raza’s Annual Conference in July 2012, Biden told an awkward joke while recounting a story about growing up in a crowded house, saying “those walls were awful thin.”

“‘It was wonderful for children. By the way — having your grandpop living with you, having your great aunt, your uncle, for real. But that’s a different story. I know you don’t know anything about that. I know none of you in your families have done the same thing.’”

In February 2007, Biden said of then-candidate Obama: “I mean, you got the first mainstream African-American who is articulate and bright and clean and a nice-looking guy. I mean, that’s a storybook, man.” 

In February 2007, Biden made a joke about Indian Americans, saying “you cannot go to a 7-eleven or a Dunkin donuts [in Delaware] unless you have a slight Indian accent. I’m not joking.” 

At an August 2012 campaign event In Virginia, Biden told a crowd that was half African American that Republicans would “put you all back in chains.”

In 2014, Biden referred to the first Prime Minister of Singapore as “the wisest man in the Orient.”

“‘On the way, back from Mumbai to go meet with President Xi in China, I stopped in Singapore to meet with a guy named Lee Kuan Yew, who most foreign policy experts around the world say is the wisest man in the Orient. We the People, We the Voters’ bus tour.”

In March 2012, Biden made a joke about “staying oiled and lubricated” during a reception for Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny.

“‘You know there’s an old Irish saying, there’s all kinds of old Irish sayings. My grandfather Finnegan, I think he made them up. But uh, it says, may the hinges of our friendship never go rusty. Well, with these two folks that you’re about to meet if you haven’t already, there’s no doubt about them staying oiled and lubricated here. Now for you who are not full Irish in this room, lubricated has a different meaning for us all.’”

In September 2014, Biden referred to lenders of “bad loans” to people serving in the military as “shylocks:”

“‘That’s one of the things that he finds was most in need when he was over there in Iraq for a year, that people would come to him and talk about what was happening to them at home in terms of foreclosures, in terms of bad loans that were being…I mean these Shylocks who took advantage of these women and men while overseas.’

In January 2012, Biden “appeared to slip” into an Indian accent when talking about call center jobs.

“In a speech in New Hampshire on Thursday, while talking about call center jobs, United States vice president Joe Biden appeared to slip into an ‘Indian’ accent before thinking better of it and stopping in mid-sentence.”

Biden said that he wished opponents of the plan “had some notion of what it’s like to be on the other side of a gun. Or a 200-pound man standing over you telling you to submit.”

In August 2011, Biden called China’s one child policy “one which I fully understand—I’m not second-guessing.”

In October 2010, Biden expressed his dismay with Republicans who want to balance the budget by saying he would “strangle them” if he had to hear about it again.

“‘If I hear one more Republican tell me about balancing the budget, I am going to strangle them. To the press, that’s a figure of speech.’”

In June 2010, Biden called a custard shop owner “a smartass” when the shop owner asked him to lower taxes.

In February 2010, Biden was caught telling a participant in a health care summit that “it’s easy being Vice President – you don’t have to do anything.”

In March 2009, not knowing his microphone was on, Biden replied to a former Senate colleague addressing him as “Mr. Vice President” with “gimme a f-ing break.”

During a December 2007 event in Iowa, Biden called Mexico a “dysfunctional society.”  

In June 2007, Biden said he traveled to the “black sections” of his town to promote AIDS testing and condom use.